For immediate release
Wednesday 27 February 2019

Help Preserve The Māori Rock Carvings, A National Treasure

The Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings in Lake Taupō, one of the North Island’s national taonga and biggest tourist attractions, needs your help.

Master carver Matahi Whakataka Brightwell is the artistic creator of the iconic Māori Rock Carvings, a towering 14 metre high sculpture of the great navigator and high priest Ngātoroirangi. This masterpiece is one of New Zealand’s most extraordinary contemporary Māori artworks.

Brightwell is wanting to lead a small team to improve and restore the smaller carvings that surround the giant carving of Ngātoroirangi in order to return them to their original state.

As well as the work to tidy and repair the carvings, there is the need to train a new generation of carvers for the artwork’s future maintenance as Brightwell is now in his 70s.

The sculpture of Ngātoroirangi, and the smaller sculptures of tūpuna (ancestors) and kaitiaki (guardians) nearby were created in the 1970s by Mr Brightwell and a team of four others: Jono Randell, Te Miringa Hohaia, Dave Hegglun and Steve Myhre.

It was at the request of Mr Brightwell’s grandmother, Te Huatahi Susie Gilbert, who asked her grandson to create a likeness of Ngātoroirangi to create a permanent connection for her family to the land. With no suitable totara tree available, Mr Brightwell journeyed on to Lake Taupō for inspiration.

The importance of the sculpture to Mr Brightwell, his iwi and to the Taupō district has spanned generations, with tourists from all over the world travelling out on the Lake to take a picture of his masterpiece.

Nowadays the sculpture is one of New Zealand’s most extraordinary artworks and a major drawcard for visitors to the area. It is also a major representation for the Māori people of New Zealand in the tourism sector.

As most acclaimed artists know, acquiring enough funding to create and restore can be a struggle, so we are asking New Zealand to ‘Give a Little’ to help with the renovation and restoration of the Māori Rock Carvings which will take place over the next few months.

Please New Zealand, let’s ‘Give a Little’ to help Brightwell restore and preserve this beautiful national Taonga.

Donations are welcomed at


Chris Jolly Outdoors is an established local tourism operator who have been providing unparralled outdoor experiences for Great Lake Taupo visitors for almost 40 years. Their main operations are providing scenic cruises and fishing experiences on Lake Taupo. They also provide guided biking, walking and hunting experiences throughout the region.  Visit for more information.

For more information, images and media enquiries contact:

Katie Jolly
Chris Jolly Outdoors
P| 021 254 0760

We had such a great time. Everybody loved the trip and we would like to do it again. we loved the fishing, the shooting,BBQ the friendliness 7 knowledge of the staff and Charlie brown is cool. we had such great weather as well. We have already recommended this trip to everyone in our company as something to do when in Taupo. Thanks so much for having us!

Sarah Middleton

I would like to extend our gratitude to Simon, Ali, Emma and of course Charlie Brown for providing a fantastic day on board 'Supercat' yesterday. The Taupo staff fishing trip is a highlight in our calendar this year. The Claybird shooting, fishing and the dinner was fantastically organised and appreciated by all and we landed two Rainbow trout!

Neill Ross

I wanted to send a quick note to thank you and your fine team for looking after our team. We all very much enjoyed our cruise and I might add the weather that day certainly enhanced the overall experience! We will keep in touch and look forward to working together again over what is shaping up to be a more positive summer season.

Patrick Bourke,